This necklace by Mary Ellen beads Albuquerque presents a way to string beads as art.

String Beads as Mindful Art

Details add depth, color and art, even if you simply string beads. The subtlest items can bring surprise and delight to a viewer. In a necklace as well as in life, uncommon elements support a greater vision. As a result, I encourage others to string beads as mindful art.

This art-full necklace features the joy of green, one of the most harmonious and universally loved of colors. It represents nature, growth, and is generally pleasing to the eye. Green is also a movement, a symbol of ecology and a verb as well. 

With green in mind, I re-discovered the joy of random stringing, a way in which I add beads of color to a dominant palette, as I prepared a multi-strand pearl necklace to showcase a Nepalese silver focal. Because of the strong green within its center carving, I chose a Picasso bead of the same hue for accent. Picasso Beads carry a mottled finish of luster coating that gives an organic, earthy appearance. These are three-cut Czech glass, so the facets which cause light to reflect in a subtle and wonderful accent.

The carving features bone colored fish and swirls which are replicated in the silver beneath where a rose and a butterfly are depicted.

This close up from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque shows the pendant and its clasp for a necklace to emphasize string beads as art.

Early into my beading foray, the small pearls I’m using landed in my stash. A woman met me and two other bead enthusiasts in my studio. She told us these pearls had been in her late brother’s safe. I loved the luster and the idea that they could be mine. Until I decided on this project, they simply were one of the purchases I admired at the regular viewing in my “Church of Beads.”

String beads one by one with awareness

Pearl after pearl went onto the fine wire until nine 20-inch strands were filled. It was a meditative experience, similar to methods I’ve taught with Mindful Beading. (Read more in this post.) 

Easily, quietly and confidently I added pearls with an occasional Picasso or smokey topaz glass round. On one strand, every other bead was a smokey topaz. My intention was to enhance the strands with unexpected elements that could catch one’s eye from different angles. 

One by one I hung the strands in order from a sterling silver clasp which featured a green stone in its center, thus enhancing my color theme and the art of the detail in its repetition. I added and subtracted beads one by one in order to get the draping I envisioned.


In beading as in life, I find the simple tactics add power and strength. Never under-estimate the power of simple stringing.

How can you make the act of stringing beads even more of an art?

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